The Honesty of Jerry

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    His name was Jerry; he has been at the orphanage since he was four.  I could picture him at four , with the same grave gray- blue eyes and the same – independences?  No, the world that comes to me is “ Integrity “ . It is embedded on courage, but it is more than brave. It is honesty. The axe handle broke on day. Jerry said the orphanage woodshop would repair it. I brought money to pay for the job and he refused it. “I will pay for it, “ he said, “ I brought the axe down careless.”

    “ But no one hits accurately every time. “  I told him. “ The fault was in the handle. “

    It was only than that he would take the money. He was standing back his own carelessness. He was a freewill agent and he close to do careful work; and if he failed he took the responsibility without subterfuge.

     And he did for me the unnecessary thing, the gracious thing that we find done only by the great of heard. Things no training can teach, for they are done on the instant, with no predicated experience. He found a cubbyhole beside the fireplace that I had not noticed. There, of his own accord, he put wood. So that I might always have dry fire material ready and case of sudden wet weather. A stone was loose in the rough walk to the cabin. He dug a deeper hole and steadied it, although he came, himself by a shortcut over the bank.

    I found that when I tried to return his thoughtfulness with such things as candy and apples, he was wordless. “ Thank you “ was, perhaps, an expression for which he had no use, for his courtesy was instinctive.  He only looked at the gift and at me and a curtain lifted. So that I saw deeper into the clear well of his eyes; and gratitude was there, and affection, soft over the firm granite of character.